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  1. Like
    donolog got a reaction from Baked Alaska in BAD CUSTOMER SERVICE   
    Perhaps the first RCCL customer service rep you spoke to was pre-morning coffee too.  :P
    Happy to hear things worked out.
  2. Like
    donolog reacted to twangster in A. of the Seas-What Time do I have to Leave the Ship?   
    10am is when they will start checking people in.  I arrived at 10:20am to no lines and several hundred already through check in and waiting before me.  10 minutes later boarding started.  That's probably pretty close to best case scenario.  If there are USCG or other routine inspections they can delay boarding.  A lot of it is out of their hands and in the hands of customs and USCG so they can't be more specific.  They'd love to start ASAP just to get everyone on and ready to depart right on time but it's not entirely under their control.
  3. Like
    donolog reacted to Lovetocruise2002 in A. of the Seas-What Time do I have to Leave the Ship?   
    We just boarded on Friday. We arrived at 10:20 am to find moderate lines in non-suites area and zero lines in suites area. Boarding had already started while we checked in. There was zero wait time. Curb to ship was 10min!
  4. Like
    donolog got a reaction from OrionJus in Adventure Ocean Ages 9-11   
    That was my experience too. They definitely had the games, but that wasn't the main focus and there were only enough consoles for a handful of players. If you have concerns I'm sure you can discuss them with the AO staff (e.g. if you don't want your son playing the games, I'm sure they would accommodate that).
  5. Like
    donolog got a reaction from RestingBird in Voom on Adventure   
    Actually I prefer no connectivity ... disconnecting from the rest of the world is one of the things I like best about cruises, but maybe that's just me.  ;)
  6. Like
    donolog got a reaction from RestingBird in johnny rockets - please explain it to me   
    And don't forget to use your C&A Gold 2-for-1 milkshake offers!
  7. Like
    donolog got a reaction from cruise-y in RC versus Oceania   
    My last two cruises were Navigator out Southampton, and Liberty out of Galveston. So both of mine with RCCL, and perhaps helps further differentiate ship vs location factors. 

    Convenience of departure:  I live in Texas so it's a lot easier (and cheaper) for me to drive to Galveston than to fly to Rome.  However, it's always fun flying in business class to Europe.  So, I'll just say this:  The Galveston port experience was chaotic, crowded, confusing and stressful.  The Rome port experience was fast and smooth as silk.  So, even though the ports themselves have something to do with that, the cruise line also gets credit for how they handle the departures.  
    I live in Vancouver and could (literally) walk to a cruise, but I'd rather cruise in winter and to places other than Alaska so I end up flying wherever. I had similar issues with the Galveston port (even worse at disembarkation), but like your's, Southampton was the smoothest port I've ever experienced going both ways.

    3) Oceania provides "specialty dining" at their high-end steak, sushi, French, Italian, etc. restaurants included in the (higher) cruise price.  However, those restaurants fill up fast and you have to book far in advance.  RC charges you to eat at those restaurants.   Because I live in a major metropolitan area, eating at those restaurants was not that big of a thrill to me.  Honestly, I preferred the unusual courses I had in RC's main dining room.  Of course, I realize this is a personal preference. 
      Exactly how I feel about specialty dining and the MDR on RC (although it is slipping).  
    5) Drinks.  Oceana had coffee, juices, soft drinks, bottled water, ice cream sodas and the like always available for free.  These were harder to find (or not available at all) on RC.  
      I take advantage of free iced tea and water in Windjammer when it's open, and free coffee from Café Promenade when WJ is closed. I also keep a bottle of water in my stateroom. Works for me. Free ice cream sodas sounds amazing though ... but could be dangerous to the waistline.  I do like the RC policy on allowing a couple of bottles of wine to be brought on board, which I gather is not common within the cruising world, or at least not without charging a corkage fee.    
    Shore Excursions:  Again, the venue makes a difference.  We took excursions in almost every port on both cruises.  However, in terms of organization, waiting, confusion, lunch quality, etc. they were pretty much equal.  
      This is one area where I would definitely give the advantage to Europe (which for me was northern Spain and France). Organization, waiting, lunch quality and especially the quality of the coach buses (when part of the excursion) were all superior to their Caribbean counterparts.
    Thanks for the review!
  8. Like
    donolog reacted to WAAAYTOOO in Newbie questions about ship life   
    On my recent NAV cruise it was really the first time that my waiters were diligent about passing on this information for the next night.  I really appreciated it.  That kind of information has been very hit-or-miss on cruises in the past but it was very consistent on the NAV over the holidays.  That particular nugget tells me that the crew on NAV, at least, is receiving some consistent training and the wait staff was heeding it.
  9. Like
    donolog got a reaction from EmersonNZ in Casino: Has anyone won on their cruises?   
    Won a t-shirt at Bingo ... does that count?  :)
    I haven't played much in the Casino, but on the last cruise won $100 on the Casino Daily Lotto and came in third in a Blackjack tournament -- don't remember winning much more than that.
  10. Like
    donolog got a reaction from Jerel in 2017 Royal Caribbean prediction thread   
    Fathom is still in business for now, and operating cruises until May 2017, at which time its owner Carnival will discontinue its operation as a dedicated cruise line, and begin operating it as a "branded experience of offering volunteer activities as shore excursions" across a variety of Carnival lines (e.g. Carnival, Holland America, Princess, etc.).  So it's not out-of-the-question that option could be considered by RCCL.
  11. Like
    donolog reacted to Sailor_to_Cruiser in Sabor guacamole recipe   
    Here is the Sabor guacamole recipe:
    1/2 cup red onion chopped 2 TBSP jalapeno chopped 1/4 TSP ground cumin 2 avocados mashed 1 TSP salt 1/2 lime squeezed 1/2 lemon squeezed 3/4 cup cilantro chopped 1/3 cup tomatoes chopped --combine all ingredients and enjoy!    Courtesy of Matt's blogpost at http://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/podcast/episode-135-allure-of-the-seas-group-cruise-live-review
  12. Like
    donolog reacted to Floski in Excited just does not cover it   
    Dude.  For some reason, your post really got to me (not sure why, as I'm not divorced nor a seasoned cruiser), and I simply am beside myself excited for you.  I remember how stoked
    I was last year before my first cruise; it's almost physically debilitating!  That you get to take the people most important in your life just makes it that much better!
    I wish I could go with you, amigo (never mind my avatar - I look just like Matt and LOVE Sabor!).   B)
    I think I can safely speak for all of us by saying that we are all happy for you, and expect a LOT of posts from you, both pre- and post-cruise!
  13. Like
    donolog got a reaction from valeri.com in Freedom of the Seas headed to Maine in 2018   
    Apart from port infrastructure, the other big logistics issue with Alaska is that anything bigger than a Radiance class ship won't fit through the Panama Canal, which means they'd have to go around South America if they're coming from the Caribbean, or do a Transpacific if they're coming from Australia or Asia. Furthermore, these longer repositioning and Alaska cruises tend to cater to an older demographic that cares less about big ship amenities like flow-riders and slides. All of that is to say I suspect the economics won't add up for larger ships on Alaska any time in the near future.
    But don't get me wrong, I'd personally love to see more options on the West Coast.
    CORRECTION: I didn't realize that the Third Set of Locks Project was finally completed and opened a few months ago, which means all but Oasis class ships can make it through Panama now (Oasis class ships can also fit through the new locks but not under Bridge of the Americas).
  14. Like
    donolog got a reaction from J_Keeble in Thoughts on Rhapsody   
    And this comes back to a different strokes for different folks point. After dinner and going to the main show in the theatre, are you more inclined to think to yourself:
    ... it's time to head back to the cabin to turn in and get a head start on tomorrow; or, ... the night has just begun what should I do next? If you're the early riser (or you want to get your kids to bed), you might not miss the extra evening options on the bigger ships as much, but if you're a night owl they'll make a big difference.
  15. Like
    donolog got a reaction from DocLC in Thoughts on Rhapsody   
    And this comes back to a different strokes for different folks point. After dinner and going to the main show in the theatre, are you more inclined to think to yourself:
    ... it's time to head back to the cabin to turn in and get a head start on tomorrow; or, ... the night has just begun what should I do next? If you're the early riser (or you want to get your kids to bed), you might not miss the extra evening options on the bigger ships as much, but if you're a night owl they'll make a big difference.
  16. Like
    donolog reacted to whitsmom in Carrying on luggage   
    Glad to hear that.  We will have a small bag with stuff we will need but I sure didn't want to lug around all that other stuff!  We are taking the grand kids so I can enjoy their first ever exploring the cruise ship without added "baggage"  LOL
  17. Like
    donolog reacted to DocLC in Thoughts on Rhapsody   
    Depending on the itinerary, this could be a good thing especially if port days are long or involve overnight stops. Thus is one of the reasons we opted for a Radiance class ship in Europe even when the Allure was there. We decided to save the Allure for a less interesting itinerary with more port days so that we could enjoy everything she has to offer.
  18. Like
    donolog reacted to Matt in Thoughts on Rhapsody   
    That's a fair point.  I think the primary time when the differences are noticeable are in the evening. On Oasis class ship, there is so much going on, but Rhapsody will have a more limited set (relatively speaking) of things to do.
  19. Like
    donolog got a reaction from J_Keeble in Thoughts on Rhapsody   
    The only added dimension I would consider would be the number of calls and available shore excursions on the itinerary. The Oasis class ships will tend to have one to two more days at sea than a typical Rhapsody itinerary, so having those Oasis bells and whistles becomes that much important; however, you might be able to compensate for the missing Oasis features on Rhapsody if you're spending more time ashore doing activities the kids like. I'm pretty sure that if I gave my 10-yo daughter the choice between an Oasis cruise with one day of snorkelling vs. Rhapsody with three days of snorkelling, she'd probably take Rhapsody.
  20. Like
    donolog reacted to bsbrady in Luggage Tags   
    I have done that before, it works. But for my upcoming trip I purchased luggage tags from amazon. They are reusable and can be used not just for cruising:
  21. Like
    donolog reacted to Matt in Navigator Voom   
    Great review Ryan.  I thought you handled this as objectively as can be.
    I was very surprised to see the speed reports.  On non-Oasis/Quantum class ships, it's not unusual for the speeds to be decent but the ping time to be quite high.  In this case, you have just awful speeds.
    I sat here trying to think how I would handle this, because I will be onboard in February and doubt much will change between now and then.  I rely heavily on the internet while at sea, so hearing that these speeds are nowhere near Voom really bugs me.
    I think I know what you're asking us: it's not that you can't handle slow speeds, but you feel like it was completely misrepresented as fast internet, when it is clearly anything but that.  (Correct me if I am way offbase).
    I would definitely do a few things...
    Mention (at length) in the post-cruise survey about this. Don't pull any punches, because those surveys are the most likely read feedback RC takes Send an email to RC guest relations stating you feel the product was completely mis-represented. You might follow all that up with a phone call. I've never gone to that length for anything, but I don't know how bothered you are by all of this.
  22. Like
    donolog reacted to Christie in How far to book in advance for bigger cabins?   
    For our Christmas sailing next week, there was nothing above junior suites available when we looked.  I would check back every day, and occasionally something would pop up in sky class.  Then final payment date hit and when people had to pony up the $$$, they backed out.  We booked 2 star class rooms right around final payment date.  So check back often!
  23. Like
    donolog reacted to UkuleleCruiser in Cruise Pictures   
    Based on everyone's feedback, I do see the value at $250 or $300, but I think I will still pester people to take our picture and spend that money on drinks, food, and other non-essentials.
  24. Like
    donolog reacted to bsbrady in Cruising strategy?   
    I always try and book my next cruise while onboard. Good deals, low deposits, OBC's . Seems to work well
  25. Like
    donolog reacted to PocketsRN in Navigator Junior Suite   
    I actually got an owner's suite on Empress for about the same as what I'd pay for a junior on the newer boats. The room's about the same size or maybe a little bit smaller, but the balcony was about 4 times bigger.
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